Our building renovations are nearly complete!

Auto Lab in Libertyville - Auto repair shop renovations

We’ve been renovating and updating the outside of our auto repair shop all summer, and we’re thrilled to say the project is nearly complete.

In addition to the building exterior, we’ve redone the customer waiting area. Here are some photos of the project. If you haven’t been by in awhile, we invite you to stop in and see the changes.

Auto Lab in Libertyville - Auto repair shop renovations

What do you think of our newly renovated building?

The renovated customer waiting area at Auto Lab, an auto repair shop in Libertyville, IL

Thanks, Jerry, for visiting and checking out the renovated customer waiting area.

Sherman Riddick at Auto Lab, an auto repair shop near Vernon Hills, Lake Forest and Mundelein, IL

Sherman behind our updated customer service desk.

Auto Lab in Libertyville - A close up of the renovated building and front entrance

The building renovations included expanding the glass and windows on the front of the building.

TPMS and your ‘low tire’ light: Everything you need to know


autolabtpmsAllow us to introduce you to that little yellow light on your dashboard, the exclamation point centered around a flattened circle.

This small but mighty indicator is the tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, and it works hard to ensure that your tires are ready for the road.

Your personal tire inspection source
The TPMS tracks your tires to ensure that they’re inflated to the recommended pressure. If your tires are under-inflated, that “exclamation point light” will come on on your dash. This is your cue to take action.

Have a ‘low tire’ light that won’t go away? Schedule an appointment with Auto Lab today.

Why your TPMS light comes on
Broadly, there’s one reason that your TPMS light will shine: Your tires don’t meet the recommended pressure that you need for a safe drive. But there are a few common causes of low tire pressure:

  • One (or more) of your tires simply needs more air. Sometimes, tires can naturally lose their inflation. A quick fill-up will solve the problem.
  • One (or more) of your tires are damaged. If a sharp object has penetrated one of your tires, it may be slowly losing air. This is likely happening if you refill your tires only to have the light go on again.
  • One (or more) of your wheels is damaged. Struck a curb or hit a deep pothole at full speed? You may have bent a wheel or rim, affecting tire’s tight seal on said wheel or rim.
  • Air is leaking from the wheel rim. Rust can build up on the wheel, preventing a tight seal with the tire. The fix is to remove the tire from the wheel, clean the wheel thoroughly with a wire brush and remount and balance the tire.  You would typically see this after buying new tires: The tech installing the new tires may not have cleaned the wheel properly.
  • Temperature changes are at play. In the Chicago area, we see this a lot in the fall as daytime temperatures in the 70s give way to nighttime lows in the 40s. Why does this happen? If you think back to your school days and science class: Air molecules are smaller when it’s colder outside, and they literally leak from the tire.  For every 10 degree change in ambient air temperature, your tire pressure will fluctuate about 1 psi.

Taking Action with your TPMS
If your TPMS light goes on, it’s essential to check your tire pressure as soon as possible. Once you find the tire that isn’t meeting its recommended level, you know where to take action. In many cases, you can turn off your TPMS light once you fill the tire to the proper psi. In some cars, though, you’ll need to stop by a shop like Auto Lab and have them reset the light with a specialty tool.

Also, if a simple refill doesn’t do the trick, the tire specialists at Auto Lab can fill the tires, assess for repairs, and even replace your tire if necessary.

Your TPMS is a great resource to ensure that you can head on the road safely.

What is that squealing noise under my car hood?

Common car noises and what causes them

Common car noises and what causes themQuestion: For the past couple weeks, I’ve been hearing a high-pitched squealing or whining noise in the engine area when I first start the car in the morning. It makes the noise on and off for the first few minutes I’m in the car–pretty much by the time I hit Milwaukee Avenue near Vernon Hills. I thought it was my serpentine belt, but I just had that replaced recently. What else could it be?

Answer:  Based on your description, it does sound like a belt noise, either your serpentine belt or another accessory drivebelt. Even though you replaced the serpentine belt recently, it may need to tightened some to put an end to the annoying squealing. If you want to stop by Auto Lab, we’ll be happy to take a complimentary look for you and tighten the belt, or if that’s not the issue, we can advise you on what other repair issue it might be.

When summer’s heat and humidity give way to fall’s cooler temperatures, it’s common for your car to suddenly start making rattling, creaking and squealing sounds. Don’t let these new noises haunt you! We can help with any noise-related auto repairs.

I’m being haunted by car noises! I want to schedule an appointment

Here are some common automotive gremlins that creep up in the fall, along with some common causes:

  • Squeaking & Creaking — Your brakes may squeak when you apply them — or when you release the brake pedal. In either case, it warrants a brake inspection before the innocent squeaking turns into a menacing metal-on-metal grinding. Another source of squeaking or creaking can be your suspension. If you hear the noises over bumps or on rough stretches of roadway, schedule an inspection for your shocks, struts and other steering and suspension components.
  • Groaning or Grinding Loud groaning or grinding noises can come from rusty rotors or, as we mentioned above, brake pads that are worn out and grinding into the brake rotor. If you’re hearing a groaning noise when turning, you might have a wheel bearing issue. This can be serious, so again, we recommend a vehicle inspection so we can get to the source of the noise for you.
  • Rattling — The good news? Many car rattles are typically a nuisance more than anything else. Loose exhaust clamps and heat shields are the typical culprits, and at Auto Lab, we can secure the clamps and tighten those shields to quiet them down. In some cases, you may hear rattling-type noises from worn suspension parts, a worn catalytic converter or even a timing chain.
  • Howling — If you have to turn up the radio to hear over the noise of the car, you need to bring your car in to Auto Lab! Imbalanced or worn tires are a common cause of howling and other unpleasant whirring noises. One telltale sign that it’s a tire issue: Do you hear it at all speeds? Does it get louder as the car picks up speed? Do you hear it “rotating”?

Have an annoying car noise you want us to diagnose and repair for you? Consult our Vehicle Noise Checklist to help us understand the type of noise, when it happens and where it’s coming from.

Why buy tires from Auto Lab instead of a discount tire store?

We’ll Help You Save More Money in the Long Run

Need new tires in Vernon Hills? Choose Auto LabWhen you’re ready for your next set of tires, Auto Lab is here to help you choose the best tires for your vehicle, your driving habits and your budget.

Think you’ll save a bundle by going to a big box discount tire store instead? Here are four reasons why you should choose an independent auto repair shop like Auto Lab instead:

1) Your tires are the only contact between your car and the road.

They keep you maneuvering down the road safely when it’s wet, snowy or icy, and they work with your brakes to ensure you stop safely when you need to. And in all weather conditions, they help to create a smooth ride. Do you really want to make price your primary factor when tires play such an important role in your safety?

2) We’ll help you choose the tires that best fit your needs.

Ready for new tires? Book an appointmentThis seems like an obvious statement, but consider this. Because we know you and your family, we also tend to know what your plans are for your car. And if we know you’re going to keep your car for another three years and you drive 15,000 miles a year, we’re going to recommend a 60,000-mile tire. Why? Because the tires will still be in good shape when you sell the car or trade it in. If you buy a 45,000-mile tire, you’ll have to replace the tires before you sell or trade the car. A discount store, on the other hand, is much less likely to take the time to ask the questions necessary to make this recommendation. They’re much more likely to focus on the short-term savings of a set of 45,000-mile tires, which will cost you more in the long run.

3) We don’t have to sell tires because they’re on sale or we need to clear out inventory.

Because we order our tires locally from multiple sources, we do not need to stock any inventory. This means, we can focus on selling you the right tire — and not focus on clearing out the warehouse or selling you what’s on sale this month. This means we can recommend a brand of tires based on your needs, not ours.

4) Never under estimate the importance of a proper installation.

You’d be surprised how easy it is for an entry-level technician–who’s under the gun to install several sets of tires every day–to forget to reset your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) or to overlook a spot of dirt on a rim that leads to a slow leak. At Auto Lab in Libertyville, our ASE-Certified Technicians are given the time needed to focus on quality, not quantity. They take the time to properly install the new tires, including cleaning the rims thoroughly, installing tire valves carefully and balancing the wheels properly. How many times have you left an auto shop and had to return because there was a slight vibration in your new tires?

And remember: When you need those new tires, you can use our free loaners, take a ride in our courtesy shuttle or take advantage of after-hours drop-off.

Have questions about buying new tires? Feel free to call or email us. We’re here to help!

Enjoy free tire rotations when you buy new tires at Auto Lab!

New! Pick up a loaner car after hours — including on weekends

New convenience offering from Auto Lab: Pick up a loaner car after hoursIt’s no secret that we’re all pressed for time. For all of our modern conveniences, it seems we primarily use them to pack more into each day.

That makes it challenging to set aside time for auto repair and maintenance, and we understand why some of our clients have asked us for longer evening hours or for Saturday hours.

We want to continue to give our team Saturdays to spend with their families and enjoying their weekends, much like many of you do. But we want to help you out, too.

Schedule & Reserve a Loaner Now

That’s why we’re now giving you the option to pick up a free loaner car when you drop your car for service after hours.

Loaner cars are first come, first serve so we recommend you reserve one at least two days in advance. Simply call Sherman or Heather at 847-367-4488, and they’ll set you up. If you prefer to schedule online, please use the comments box at the bottom to request a loaner.

We hope this helps you, and we welcome any feedback you have as you test out this new convenience offering.


Kevin, Sherman & Heather